Contact: info@52-skidoo.com

Bringing back to life the forgotten era of  the Speakeasy, Prohibition, Vaudeville, Tin Pan Alley, New York rent parties, Harlem Stride Piano and Hot Jazz

1920's band 52 Skidoo are an unlikely collection of drunks, gamblers, misfits and outlaws performing Harlem Swing, a music born out of the stride piano style made famous by James P. Johnson and Fats Waller.

They formed after a chance meeting whilst looking for unfinished bottles of wine at a New Year’s Eve party in 1929. This led to a mass brawl, multiple arrests and ultimately the formation of the band.


Henry 'J.J.' Botham

(aka ‘Double J’, aka ‘Jay Jay’, aka ‘Two J’s’):
pianist, womaniser, heavy drinker, former world heavyweight boxing champion and tickler. J.J. is known for his stunning piano shout and segue skills, while famed for hollering at audience members in a possessed American drawl "Chillun, perk up your bodies and fill your glasses, let's break out the rum and get to dancin'."

Howard 'Dancing Bear' Jacobs

(A.K.A. ‘Wild Man’, A.K.A. ‘Velcro Paws’):

Howard is Skidoo's percussionist, clarinettist and chief noise expert. As a child he was discovered living with a family of bears in the Hungarian Mountains. Howard went on to become a successful matinee idol starring as the original Tarzan in over 200 films. Sadly, all copies and records of these films were destroyed in the great MGM fire of 1943.

Tommy Valentine

Tommy Valentine joined the band as vocalist and guitarist primarily to help clear his gambling debts. Tommy is the face of 52 Skidoo for as long as he avoids the many gangsters that he owes money to. As the band takes him the length and breadth of the country he longs to find his one true love, Irene, who left him after just one night of mischief.

Brother ‘Mitch’ Mitchell

Occasional Skidoo vocalist Brother ‘Mitch’ Mitchell first met the band in the Caribbean whilst posing as a fortune teller and local shaman. Incredibly, Mitch and Tommy discovered they were long-lost brothers separated at birth after their parents were killed and eaten by angry gorillas who had escaped from Boston Zoo. Mitch is the first phone call made when the band needs bailing out of jail and specializes in talking jive.


Other Skidoo performers come and go from gig to gig and are chosen based upon sobriety, high speed driving skills, choice of hat and terms of probation. Many are never seen again.

The band are happy to hire themselves out for any occasion as long as there is a free bar, chorus girls, a makeshift shooting range and somewhere to arm wrestle.

They have an album of songs and music from the 20’s & 30’s available to purchase and perform their own shows at vintage/cabaret/speakeasy/prohibition/Gatsby/1920’s/1930's events throughout the UK and beyond.

In the words of Fats Waller, "Mercy, that's a whole lotta' meat and potato mama”.

05 The Joint is Jumpin' by 52 Skidoo